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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Production Element #4- Time Lapse

Production Element #4: Time Lapse

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Teams in the Campbell Outdoor Challenge must provide a Time Lapse Video for one of their production elements. A time lapse video is simple in concept, and can be done several different ways, but it is important to be creative when choosing the element that you wish to focus your time lapse video on. You can make is simple or more complex, depending upon your own expertise.

How to do a basic Time Lapse:
1. It is key to have an interesting outlook or subject matter for a time lapse. Therefore, it is important to observe your environment in real time. Always make sure to note the quality of light and shadow. Now, imagine the interaction of the wind and clouds. Imagine how the light will move and how the shadows will be cast. Try to predict the subtle movement that can be captured.

2. You are going to want to choose a scene that that is captivating in the present time and that has potential to show a transformation.


Neary Lagoon Santa Cruz Ca.

By: Ted Tahquechi 

Imagine how a time lapse video would look in this scene. You would be able to see the movement in the clouds in the sky but also in the reflection in the water.

Spider & Web

By: Ken Krueger 

Imagine a video set up in a location where a spider is building his web. Not only would you see the progress of the spider building his trap but also the sunlight and shadows changing in the background. You might also catch a glimpse of an insect getting stuck in the web and the spider capturing its prey.

Spider Time Lapse from vineet suthan on Vimeo.

Stormy Weather

By: James Lineen 

Stormy weather makes a great time lapse time, because the clouds have more volume and more depth to them. Just watch out and don't let your camera get caught in a rain storm without a rain cover or it being waterproof.

3. Stability is Key.  You need a solid support to capture time lapses because stability is a necessity. This means that you need a solid Tripod or Tree Arm. The head is particularly important because you don't want to have the camera slipping during a long series.

4. Now it is time to set your camera settings. You are going to want to set your exposure manually. Remember, you are locking in the exposure to capture each scene. You want to establish the aperture setting that gives you the necessary depth of field. Typically, this means a maximum depth of field for landscapes, and a minimal depth of field for close ups. You will also want a relatively slow shutter speed, otherwise known as dragging the shutter. This will help smooth any micro movements of the camera and environment movements. Remember that you have to imagine the future when selecting your settings, and you must plan your exposure accordingly for the light changing. Neutral Density filters and Polarizer Filters can come in handy during the time lapse process.

5. Next it is important to do a little math. With a goal of a 10- to 30-second scene, you need to establish the time interval between frames. The final video will be rendered at 24 fps, therefore the amount of frames you will need to capture is 240 to 720 frames (24x10 to 24x30). With the classic example of a landscape with dramatic cloud movement, a 2-second interval may be perfect. You'll get all of your frames in 10 minutes. For shots where more passage of light is desired, many hours will be needed. Choose as tight an interval as possible balanced against your memory card or tape space.

6. Be sure that you will have a sufficient batteries/power source and memory for the duration of your time lapse. Remember, you will most likely be filming for a long time and therefore it might be hard to capture the look that you are looking for using a tape-based camera.

How to use a GoPro to film a Time Lapse:
There is two ways to capture a time lapse using the GoPro

1. Set up your GoPro on a sufficient stability source and shoot video and then in editing you can speed up the footage.

2. Use the GoPro's still image capture feature to capture 5MP digital stills. You can record at 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 second intervals until the battery dies or the SD card fills up. This gives it a little bit of a different look.

Playing with Time from Kurt Rummel on Vimeo.

How to use a DSLR to film a Time Lapse:
You’ll need an intervalometer; this device allows you to program the number of exposures. Many DSLRs have an intervalometer built in that’s accessed through the menu settings, while others require a separate accessory. Check your camera manual to see the specifics for your DSLR.

I found this blog that turned a graphing calculator into an intervalometer!
Turn a TI Graphing Calculator into a Intervalometer

Different Time Lapse Techniques:
Camera tracking systems: You can use these "camera sliders" to create a panning movement with your time lapse:

El Cielo de Canarias / Canary sky - Tenerife from Daniel López on Vimeo.

However, those systems can cost you into the thousands of dollars. You can try searching online for some DIY blogs on how to make your own.

A good DIY tip is to use a kitchen timer and a GoPro to capture a 360º time lapse.

Production Element #4- Time Lapse
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